THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL

year: 1978
cast: Lawrence Olivier, James Mason, Gregory Peck, Steve Guttenberg, Jeremy Black
rating: ***1/2

Decent thriller about "modern" Nazis (in the seventies) hiding out in South America with a plan to kill a string of civil servants all within the age-range of 61 to 65. The mystery builds till we learn that pre-teen clones of Adolf Hitler exist and their fathers are the targets: Hitler lost his father, a civil servant, at a young age and the children will experience the same loss. But before the clones are discovered things builds nicely with over-the-top but eventually bearable acting by Lawerence Olivier as a semi-retired Nazi Hunter brought back on a tip from a creative upstart Steve Guttenberg, who's eventually the kind of "Janet Leigh in PSYCHO" initially important character killed by Nazi scientist Joseph Mengella played by Gregory Peck. From Guttenberg's lead... he calls Olivier right before he dies and tells him about the plot... Olivier visits the houses of the deceased men's widows and notices the cloned children: all artistic, black haired, blue eyed brats... the only thing missing are little mustaches. Once we learn the spoiler the film quickly ends, a good thing because the build-up is everything. Apt direction keeps the pulse on a steady beat throughout. A thriller wherein the body count aspect, who dies when and how, works best. And though Gregory Peck's performance was maligned from the film's opening to this day, he's not bad at all. He was hammy in MOBY DICK but keeps his cool here... for most of the time. 

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